|JUST A NORMAL DAY.
The phone rang at around 7.30 in the evening.
"Just bloody be here at lunch time!"
"You bloody know where"
"Don't be so bloody nosy...just be here."
"What'll I bring?"
and that was the extent of the conversation.
To an eavesdropper the call could have conjured up untold images of all sorts of criminal activity when in actual fact it was just my cousin Darren letting me know that he had gained permission to hunt on one of the local properties that he occasionally worked on.
His brother was arriving from Australia on the weekend and a barbecue was planned therefore a bit of venison was required.
This being a Thursday evening, things were going to be a bit touch and go as to the likelihood of being able to guarantee getting a deer....but that's never stopped us before I guess so why should this trip be any different. I contacted my friend Bob, another good keen man, to see if he'd be interested in coming along for a walk, which of course he was. Bob likes to come along just for the walk and the scenery, which by the way is always something quite special, and as it so happened was on holiday anyway. So it was into the gun cupboard to sort out ammunition, guns etc.
I rummaged around in the cupboard, pulled out the 6.5 and the S.K.S but couldn't decide which beast to take. I knew Bob would take his SKS and thought perhaps I'll take mine as well. Naaa..what if I need to take a long range shot? The 6.5 is probably the better choice although it still needed to be sighted in after I'd changed the 4x32 scope on it to a 3-9 vari-power.
I continued to rummage around in the cupboard and couldn't find any 6.5 ammo so the SKS was looking like it was gonna be making the trip after all. Where did I put the damn 6.5 ammo? I was sure that I had a full packet after returning from a goat hunt a couple of weeks earlier. Perhaps a cup of coffee and a bit of thinking would turn up the 6.5 ammo.
Half an hour later it still hadn't magically appeared so I jumped into the car and shot over to another mates place to load up a few rounds.
It only took a few minutes to load 20 rounds and then it was off home to finish sorting out the rest of my gear. Anyone would think we were going on a week long trip into the Kaimanawas instead of a comfortable one hour drive north!
I finally decided that because the SKS had been sighted in and was pretty smack on I'd take it as well as the 6.5, just in case I had a change of heart after we arrived at Darrens place.
I was keen to get the 6.5 sighted in anyway and maybe Darren would need a gun. I was wondering if Bob was so methodical in his preparations?. With me being a collector of camouflage uniforms and camo clothing in general my next dilemma was going to be "what shall I wear?"
We'd be travelling by car to Darrens and then on a quad on the farm....Easy...I'll throw in a pair of Auscam trou, a pair of shorts, a thermal top, a South African Railway Police camo sweatshirt, Realtree polarfleece trou, canvas gaiters, Realtree home-made bush shirt, Woodland camo M-65 Field Jacket, spare gruts, socks, and my Photo Stalk camo vest....good thinking really because you never know, perhaps Darren needed some camo as well. (Yeah right!!)
Gumboots should suffice for footwear...but I chucked in my leather hunting boots as well...just in case!
I have often mentioned to cousin Darren that he should have a few bit's of camo so that he can at least look the part, to which his answer is almost always the same..."who the $#%% needs all that shit. The *$$$%% deer can't see the bloody stuff anyway!! Besides..it'll be to $**%&% hot!!
His standard hunting attire consists of red or white singlet and light blue or black shorts.
Occasionally he'll wear boots but more often than not it's the good old Samoan safety boots. (Jandels)
So at last I'm finally organised!!
|Bob arrived at 10am the following morning and after stowing all the gear in the boot
and back of his car we set off. The drive up the Paraparas was an uneventful affair and we made good time, arriving
at Darrens at around 11am.
Bob and I were pretty much ready to move out, but Darren had a dog cage to finish welding as well as a few other chores.
Besides, he told us "it's too $%***% hot to go anywhere yet! we'll wait for it to cool down a bit. We'll cruise up later on when it's a bit $%&**$ cooler."
The tea and coffee that Darrens wife made us was very welcome and after finishing this, I suggested to Darren that it might be a good time to nip down into the paddock and check the accuracy of our weapons.
We unloaded the arsenal from the boot of Bobs car and proceeded to make our way down into a gully that ran alongside Darrens house.
I told Darren that we'd need a target and he walked off into the long grass and reappeared with an old black bucket and proceeded to place it on a pile of old macrocarpa branches and cuttings.
In extremely colourful language we were informed that "this would do the job nicely".
At a range of approximately 80 metres I pulled out the legs of the Harris bipod and
chambered a round into the breech of the 6.5 and lined up on the bucket.
With the scope wound up to 9x the shot did not register anywhere on Darrens lovely black target so we all walked down to take a look. A good clean miss. "Makeloven hell" said Darren " makelove your bloody useless, makeloven deer are gonna be makeloven safe today!!".
The target was a bit to small so some clean slabs of macrocarpa that had been sawn and left to dry were placed around the bucket to give an indication of where the rifle was shooting.
The second shot was high and to the left...and the expected barrage of encouragement was fast in coming. After a few more shots and heaps more encouragement it was shooting to my liking
and it was now Bobs chance to test his synthetic stocked, bipod and scope wearing SKS.
There were no problems here, as he had lined his up the previous week in Wanganui.
His 5 test rounds all found their mark within a 20cm circle. I put a few rounds through my SKS and we were done.
Darren and his oldest son Josh put the finishing touches to his dogcrate, watched
intensely and given great encouragement by Bob and myself.
carefully scouring the hillsides and intermitent patches of bush
We loaded the gear we wanted into Darrens Subaru, which wasn't all that much because
as usual Darren wore shorts and a singlet in brilliant city camo (WHITE singlet and BLUE shorts!) We hooked on
the trailer with the Big Bear 4x4 and drove the 10km to the property we were to hunt. We stopped in at the shepherds
house to ask if he'd seen any animals handy but he hadn't.....except the one that I was watching through my scope
about 300 metres away across a gully directly opposite his kitchen window. We slowly made our way along typically
rough farm tracks, carefully scouring the hillsides and intermitent patches of bush for any sign of deer. It had
been decided that, because Bob had yet to take an animal of any kind with his flash new SKS, it was his duty to
bag the venison for the barbecue.
After finally managing to get myself over an electric fence that someone had thoughtlessly
placed right on the edge of the bank above the creek, I reached the sheep yards and sat down and watched Bob, still
persuing his deer but obviously not having much luck. Darkness wasn't far off and I could hear Darren coming down
the track we had left him on.
The 6.5 dropped him in his tracks.
|"Surely the makeloven rearend can't have gotten all the way out to the makelovin
car"! Darren exclaimed. I didn't know what to make of it either but we carried on. At 1/8 of the way back
we decided to turn around and backtrack in case Bob had hurt himself or something.It was now pitch black and the
small light on the quad was having trouble lighting a decent area in front of us.
The night became a beautiful multi coloured spectrum of colour every foot of the way
back along that track as Darren gave vivid descriptions of how nice a person our mate
After searching for about half an hour or more we decided to go back to the car, dump our gear and then rethink our strategy for locating our mate.
I rode the quad over to the shepherds house while Darren followed in the car.
I had no sooner pulled up at the shepherds house when I spied, hidden in the shadows beside the house, our mate, cuppa tea in hand and none the worse for our ordeal.
Darren was so pleased to think that we didn't have to go back out looking for him that
the normal coloured language that I thought would be forthcoming did not eventuate...well nothing to mention anyway.
The Farm Manager called to invite us in for a drink, which we gladly accepted after which we made our way back to Darrens place, where his wife, had laid on a delicious meal of bacon and egg hamburgers and cups of hot tea.
After skinning the stag and saying our farewells it was a nice relaxing drive back into Wanganui, which we reached an hour later....2.30am.
All in all it was a grand expedition..
All images are © copyright G Potaka